Thursday, July 3, 2014

Men’s Hockey World League Round One Tournament : Russia snap Switzerland's winning run, win 7-0




Top-seeded Russia snapped the winning run of Switzerland inflicting a crushing 7-0 win on them in the first Men’s Hockey World League Round One Tournament being played in Croatia. The 23rd ranked Russians rode on a scintillating hat-trick by Alexander Palyanitsa to turn the match into a one-sided affair. Hardly had the 36th ranked Swiss settled down, Dmitry Azarov struck for Russia in the 4th minute and their confidence was soaring as they attacked in waves exerting severe pressure on their opponents.

Alexander Palyanitsa got his first of the day before Nikolay Yankun added one to make their side comfortably placed with a 3-0 scoreline at half-time. Nikolay Yankun netted his second of the day before Alexander Palyanitsa struck twice to cap off a fine hat-trick. Ilfat Zamalutdinov netted the seventh goal for the Russians, who collected full points from as many games.

Minnows and 50th ranked Bulgaria, who were handed humiliating 0-11defeats by Switzerland and Russia in their opening two games, tasted their first win edging out hosts Croatia by a solitary goal, thus consigning their hosts to their first defeat of the tournament.

39th ranked Turkey, who enjoyed a rest day on Thursday, will look to recharge their batteries after two devastating defeats against Switzerland and Croatia – losing by 1-7 and 1-6 margins.

It may be noted that teams with rankings higher than 20 compete in HWL Round One for the right to compete in Round Two events. The Round Two competitors have a ranking from 11 to 19 will earn the right to compete in Round Three – the level of competition at which the lower-ranked teams enter the contest.

The winners of Round Three reach the Final Round and will contest the right to play at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The top six or seven teams from the Hockey World League will qualify for the Olympics alongside each continental champion.

The writer can be contacted at: suhridbarua@gmail.com
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